When You’re Used for Everything but Coaching, Ep. 145 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Instructional coaches get pulled to do a lot of things that aren’t part of our job description, especially these days with so many staffing shortages in schools. The principal may ask us to fill in for an absent teacher, or maybe we need to attend yet another meeting. Since coaches don’t have a classroom full of kids, we’re usually the ones asked to pitch in.

While these things need to be done, it can be really frustrating when you feel like you’re used for everything but coaching. After all, coaches have a lot to do and not much time. When we get pulled for other things, it means less time for coaching work. So how can you manage it all?

In episode 145 of The Coaching Podcast, I share three ideas to try when you’re used for everything but coaching. You’ll learn how to align your goals with your to-do list using a two-column chart. I also give you tips for tracking your time and ideas for how to make tasks do double duty so you can more done in less time.

Woman pointing to binders full of paper. On the bottom are the words Episode145 When You're Used for Everything but Coaching".

We were hired to coach teachers, and that’s what we want to do. Unfortunately, there are times when we’re asked to do things completely unrelated to our coaching work. If we get creative, we can still coach teachers and impact their practice. Tune in now to learn tips and ideas that will help you get things done even when you’re used for everything but coaching.

Topics and Questions Discussed in Episode 145 – When You’re Used for Everything but Coaching

  • A practical strategy to align your goals with your to-do list
  • How to track your time and use the data to talk to your administration about making changes
  • Ideas for making tasks do double-duty
  • Setting up a bank of coaching videos
  • Ways to use student observations and RTI support to get your foot in the door with resistant teachers

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Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros

When You’re Used for Everything but Coaching, Episode 145 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

buzzing with ms b  00:01

Hey coach. If this episode topic hits home with you and you’re thinking about how to make next year different than this year, I have a time sensitive offer that I think you’ll love. This may in June, I’m hosting my end of year workshop series. It’s part workshop, part group coaching call and 100% coaching reality, I still have a few more spaces open for coaches who want to join the for live weekly sessions, learn about how to reflect thoughtfully and turn those reflections into plans for personal growth, redefining your role and creating your coaching program for next year. You can join us at buzzing with Miss b.com slash e o Why join us and set yourself up for a great year in the fall before summer even begin. One of the challenges of instructional coaching is finding affordable specialized training that’s designed just for you. That’s why I’m excited to share an online event with you that’s right up your alley. Sydney is hosting a free online conference all about instructional coaching called Better Together. It’s a one day virtual event with dynamic keynote speakers including Jim Knight, and breakout sessions designed to help you grow as an instructional coach, head to sydney.com/buzz. To register for this free event. That’s s I B M e.com. Forward slash beat us ZZ Sydney, changing the way people learn at work.

buzzing with ms b  01:23

You’re listening to buzzing with Miss B, the coaching podcast where we believe that every teacher deserves a coach. And every coach does too. I’m Chrissy Beltran, an instructional coach, resource creator and coffee enthusiast, and I’m your host, stay tuned for practical tips and honest coaching talk that will help you coach with confidence. A coach and welcome to episode 145. This is a new episode in our series about your coaching impact. This is a short series, but I believe it’s going to be a very powerful one. Before we get started, I want to ask you to leave a review. If you have never left a review for this podcast, can you jump on whatever medium you’re using to play the podcast, especially for using Apple podcasts. And leave me a review. I get so many emails from coaches that are just beautiful about how this podcast has impacted their coaching and their lives. And I love them. The benefits of leaving a review though is that others can see it and decide that this podcast is worth their time. So if you can leave me a review on Apple podcasts, I would really appreciate it. So let’s talk about your coaching impact. Coaches sort of live in this weird space where they have these open schedules, but they quickly fill up with tons of things. Sometimes they have lots of responsibilities that don’t always resemble their job description. And they have these lofty, incredible intentions that aren’t always reflected in what they’re doing every day. But because you don’t have two dozen kids staring at you first thing in the morning, you find yourself filling in for people who aren’t present or who don’t actually exist. So like schools who don’t have enough staffing, which is pretty much everybody, especially right now, at the schools, coaches are the ones who get pulled to do all kinds of random tasks like to cover classes to complete tasks that have no owner because they’re just some random thing that the state decided they wanted you to do. And I mean, generally to do all the random things. And the problem with this is that every time you have to do one of these random things, you’re not actually doing your coaching work, right. So here’s a story from my own experience. It’s I still remember it, it still bothers me. A teacher approached me once and asked me to observe her whole 90 minute literacy block. She had been teaching for two years, and she was probably the strongest new teacher I’ve ever seen. And she wanted to get better. So she was wondering if she was spending her time well, and what she could do to maximize literacy in her really tight schedule. Because 90 minutes is, is a lot of it’s not a lot of time to squeeze in so many things. But 90 minutes was a big ask, right. So because it was such a large chunk of time, I’d have to mark off a whole morning basically to meet with her. I tried for over a month to make it happen. There were two days that were automatically gone every week to her during her literacy block because leadership meetings where every Monday morning, and then PLC took me from 745 to 245. On Tuesdays, she often had to juggle her schedule on Fridays for assessments because it was a very limited block of time that she had in the afternoon. So sometimes she’d have to move up her other subject areas into the morning to take a test. She had a test that week. So the Fridays were pretty much out. And then Wednesdays and Thursdays were the only days left. So one week I had to cancel because I was asked to leave meetings with grade level teams to review their benchmark data. Another week I had to cancel because we had guests from central office and then we had to meet with them and take them around campus and do like instructional rounds. The third week, I was called out for PD. The fourth week, I had to help prepare For the fairy tale ball, I’m not lying. I didn’t visit the teacher for a month after her request. Because I was putting up butcher paper and dancing with five year olds while I was dressed up as Gretel from Hansel and Gretel. A lot of this is ordinary school stuff, although the fairy tale ball is pretty unique. These things happen and somebody has to do these things, right. But they’re not coaching work. So that teacher didn’t get the coaching support that she wanted. She asked me, that’s the whole ballgame people, I had built a relationship with her. And she valued and trusted me enough that she wanted me in her room for the whole morning. We can’t follow through for the ones who want the support. What are we doing here? Right. So as you can probably tell, it still bothers me. It’s been about eight years, and I still remember seeing her in the hallway and telling her I couldn’t make it the next day, could we do Friday, and then she said she was giving an assessment and not to worry about it. And I just felt like I failed her. It was terrible. So I got this question from so many coaches. And so I’ve put together a few ideas that you can use to check in with yourself, and to communicate with admin about your coaching role. All of them might not work in your unique situation, because everybody’s role looks very different. But all you need is one to make a difference, right? So it’s important to remember also, that change is slow and incremental and you are unlikely to go from coaching, you know, 10% of the time to coaching 90% of the time, it’s just not going to happen. So instead, we need to make sure we keep track of our time spent and celebrate small wins. So here are a couple of ideas that you can use to share with your administrator and have an honest conversation about your time is going and how impactful you’re being based on the way things are currently working. So here’s my first idea, what you do is you get a piece of paper, and you draw a line down the middle and you have two columns. Okay. So on the left side, you’re writing what your goals are as a coach, and hopefully you’ve created goals towards the beginning of the year in January, maybe you have monthly goals, what is it that you’re trying to accomplish with your coaching work, if you’re not sure what your goals are, and you’re like Ash, I don’t even know where to start with any of that, you can actually go back and listen to my episode about smart goals. And I am pulling that up for you right now. So I can get your the actual episode number. So you have that, that is going to be in Episode 24. If you don’t have goals, it’s really important that you do if you don’t have any goal, some to quote, Woody. So if you have your goals already, write them on the left side of the paper. And if not, go back, listen to episode 24. Think of some golf. On the right side, you’re gonna write all of your to do list for the week, which I know that’s a crazy amount of things. So um, you don’t realistically have to write every single tiny item, but what is taking up most of your time during the week. Then I want you to look at both columns, and look at the right side and look at the left side and then say, Okay, this, this specific task on the right side supports this goal on the left side. So on the left side, my goal says that I am going to support teachers in implementing phonemic awareness strategies in pre K through second grade. You look down your right side and you say okay, am I doing anything that accomplishes that goal? Let’s see, I actually on Wednesday, I’m going to meet with Miss Flores and we are going to practice the phonemic awareness routine that we purchased. So yes, draw the line. On Friday, I’m going to order resources for second grade. Yes, draw the line. If you cannot make a lot of connections, that’s not a great sign right about the way that we’re spending our time. Doing this kind of an activity is really helpful, because it really makes us it makes it clear to us where our time is going. And we can also use it to show our administrator, that what we’re being asked to do and what we’re spending time on is not accomplishing the things that we think it is. There’s another thing that you can do to support this, it takes a little bit longer time to sort of implement, but I think it’s really valuable. So my second idea is to track your time. Over the last few episodes, we talked about evaluating your coaching work and how you can track your coaching, like where you’re spending your coaching time. And I think that was back in episode 144. So you can use a tool to do this, you can use any of the software that we’ve talked about. But you can also just use Google Drive that one episode was terrific because it really explained exactly how to use the the tools that Google Drive or sorry, the Google Sheets already have so that you can record your time keep track of where it’s going and what kind of like categories you’re seeing pop up a lot. And so I really recommend if you have listened to Episode 143 head on back to that one if the Do something you want to try. What you can do is track your time and have color coded and then make sure that you’re categorizing everything. So that you know exactly okay, this is time spent with teachers. This is time spent with students, this is time spent on school administrative tasks, etc. After you’re done recording the time for about a month, ask your admin for a meeting. And before you go export the data into a graph and make some observations. Just think about where’s your time going, how much of it is spent with teachers and classrooms, how much of it is spent focused on teacher learning? How much is other stuff, then you’re going to meet with your admin, and you want them to state what they want to get out of having a coach on campus, you can say, you know, I’m feeling like I’m lacking direction, I feel like I’m being pulled in a lot of directions that maybe are not the most essential. So can you reiterate to me or explain to me, what is it that you want to get out of having a coach on campus? What is? What is the point of me being here? Why do you want a coach and then look through your graph, look through your data, and discuss what you’ve actually spent your time on? And whether it’s in support of those goals? Or not?

buzzing with ms b  11:11

Then this is a really interesting and challenging part, ask what changes can be made to actually accomplish these goals? What can we take off of my plate, so that I can make more time for teachers and for coaching, it’s not an easy conversation to have, depending on your admin, but it is an essential one, it’s important, if you are a new coach, it’s important if you are establishing a new coaching position on your campus or in your district, it’s important if you are a veteran coach that is realized you’ve been pulled farther and farther away from your goals. If you’re wanting to make a change, in the way that your work is accomplished, it’s necessary to have this conversation. So from there, you might go about redefining your role and adding or taking things away. Or they might say, there’s really nothing I can do. Either way, you’re gonna get an answer, right? Whether it’s when you’re hoping for or whether it’s not the one you’re hoping for. So if that’s the answer you get is not the one you’re hoping for. Number three might help by my third idea, you can make your tasks the other things that you do do double duty. So this doesn’t always work. Something’s like paperwork. There’s not really a lot of ways to make that do double duty. Although you can like analyze data and use it to set goals for your coaching work and things like that, obviously, you can analyze data and share it with teachers and, and provide them with the information that they need to make better teaching decisions or whatever. But if you’re organizing the book room or something, it might be tricky for you to think of a way to make this do double duty. Although I did just think that organizing the book room might be a good time to make little commercial videos about reel or reels or whatever about what books are series you have in the book room. And then you can share them with teachers so they can see oh, they have that be cool idea for using that. So that might be a fun way to spend your time while you’re in the book room. Anyway, some of my favorite tasks, favorite ways to make a task do double duty, I have a couple of ideas. One of them is to use video, and create a video bank. So this works if you’re having to teach a small group or an intervention group or if you’re covering a class long term. I know so many people who’ve had to cover class long term for maternity leave or FMLA. You know, otherwise, you know used and, or they just have lots of teachers and they don’t have anybody in that position. And so they’re like, how am I going to get in classrooms, whatever, I’m stuck in this one classroom. So what you can do is you can take video of yourself doing certain lessons, create a video bank, organize it by strategy, or skill or content or whatever it is, you’re you’re focusing on, and then share it with teachers. That’s one way you can also bring teachers in to observe you. But that can be more challenging to like logistically figure out. So sometimes the videos are helpful, you can use them during PD PLCs, or just to provide teachers with a source if they need ideas. Another thing that I like to do is if I’m having to observe students for RTI, for example, or if I’m having to go into cover to kind of work with kids because of behavior issues, or something along those, you know, idea that those lines that, you know, basically, you’re there as an adult out from outside of the classroom, that is there to keep an eye on kids or check on kids. This can be a really good way to get in the door of some of those tough classrooms. So that can be like your door opening opportunity that you use to say, Hey, I’m here and I can help. I’m here to check on so and so hey, what do you guys working on? It’s cool. And then you start to build a relationship with a teacher. You start talking to them, and over time you can use that to segue naturally into coaching support. Oh My gosh, are you struggling to unit on on nonfiction texts? I got the coolest articles back in my office gonna be shown to you I think your kids would love them. I just got to sell them last week. Let me bring them in. You bring them in you say? Yeah, well, I’d love to plan a lesson with you around these can, I would I just would love to work with your kids to can we do some co teaching, I would be so excited to co teach with you. You just you frame it positively. And you use the opportunity opportunity that you were given, you have to spend time in those classrooms sometimes. But it can be an open door, if we use it right. Now, if you look back in episode 99, I have some really good tips about how to make your coaching work more productive. In that episode called productivity for instructional coaches, it’s a coaching call. And so I had a coach who was like I am feeling like I am not accomplishing any of the things that I need to so check this out. And it’ll give you some ideas. Not feeling like you’re being used for what you’re hired for is a really icky feeling. And it makes you feel like you are unproductive and it makes you feel like you do not have purpose. So I really recommend that you go back and try one of these ideas. Idea number one, where you have your two columns of paper and you see which tasks support which goals, idea number two, where you track your time over a month or six months. And then you really see where it’s going. Or idea number three, you make your other tasks do double duty, you have to plan a lesson for that class that you’re going to monitor that you’re going to have to cover and you’re using a new book to do it. Well and alongside the Teachers Pay Teachers I’m going to plan for this lesson, you want to come in and plan with me I would love your input, make it into a PLC, right. Sometimes we have to be really creative in order to maximize the time that we have because we don’t have much and we still have so much to do. So thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you are trying out any of these tips, I would always love to hear from you whether you email me a buzzing Persia buzzing with Miss b.com or whether you tag me on Instagram. I love to hear from you all our episode next week is going to be about closing out the year we’re going to talk about some things that you can do to make it really purposeful, even though so much of it is just checking stuff off of your list right? So check back with me next week for episode 146 And in the meantime, happy coaching

buzzing with ms b  17:22

Thank you for listening to buzzing with Miss B the coaching podcast. Want more coaching ideas? Check me out at buzzing with Ms. b.com and on Instagram at buzzing with Miss B. If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too. Or leave me a review on iTunes. It’s free and it helps others find this show. Happy coaching


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